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University Partners Promote Safety and 'Good Neighbor' Practices Among Off-Campus Students

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150



College of St. Rose Safety/Security Officer David Mankad and Pine Hills Neighborhood Association representative Marggie Skinner hand out flyers to residents

UAlbany, the Albany Police Department, the College of St. Rose, and members of the Pine Hills Neighborhood Association welcome off-campus students by delivering messages of personal responsibility and safety. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (August 31, 2009) -- The University at Albany, Albany Police Department, the College of St. Rose, and members of the Pine Hills and Beverwyck Neighborhood Associations are welcoming off-campus students by delivering messages of safety, personal responsibility and guidelines for good neighborhood behavior. The messaging is part of a "Fifteen-Point Plan," developed by the UAlbany-led Committee on University & Community Relations to make the off-campus environment safer and more secure for students and city residents.

Beginning this week, 3,000 brochures entitled “Off-Campus Student Survival Guide, How to be SAFER and a Better Neighbor” addressing behavior, safety and off-campus student-tenant issues will be distributed door-to-door in plastic door hanger bags.

A highlight of the plan is a personal safety initiative focused on late-night, high-risk behavior in midtown areas that are home to restaurants, bars, and students.  Members of the Committee on University & Community Relations will take part in a walk-and-talk with students at midnight on Sept. 10 to discuss avoidance of high-risk behavior by not walking alone, being aware of your surroundings, avoiding dark areas and other safety tips.

Throughout the student-dense neighborhoods representatives from the Committee will travel door-to-door at 4 p.m. Sept. 14 to meet with residents and discuss students' rights and responsibilities regarding quality of life issues, safety and behavior. The group will cover Hudson Avenue from Quail Street to Partridge Street and Hamilton Street from Quail Street to Ontario Street.

"By educating our student body on ways to improve positive behavior and their safety off campus, we're taking a proactive approach," said Tom Gebhardt, director of UAlbany's Office of Personal Safety and Off-Campus Affairs and chairman of the Committee on University & Community Relations. "With exceptional cooperation among UAlbany, other area colleges, local businesses, taverns, government agencies, neighborhood associations, law enforcement, and our neighbors in Albany, we can continue to offer positive initiatives and keep students and the public well-informed about these issues."

During the week of Aug. 17, 3,000 door tags entitled “How Safe Are You?” and “Arrests & Fines for Having a Party?” were placed on all residences in the Beverwyck neighborhood and most of the Pine Hills neighborhood.  The publication highlighted various safety tips, the Midtown Neighborhood Watch and described the City of Albany and New York State laws and ordinances that could be violated as a result of a house party.

Students in UAlbany's on-campus residence halls will receive fliers entitled "Off-Campus Guide for On-Campus Students -- Safety Tips and What You Don't Know Can Get You Into Trouble Off Campus," which outline various ordinances and laws, as well as off-campus safety tips.

Other activities to combat underage and high-risk drinking by college students and improve safety include an annual meeting with local tavern owners and representatives from the New York State Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the Albany Police Department, the Albany County District Attorney’s Office and the Department of State for the State of New York; meetings with various student groups, including representatives of the university's fraternities and sororities; promoting a personal safety awareness initiative, which offers safety tips on not walking alone and being aware of outside surroundings; and the University at Albany's "Whistle Watch Safety Program."

UAlbany is also promoting its "Off-Campus Hotline" (tel. 442-5888) for long-term neighbors and students to report problems or concerns about behavior off campus.  The University's Office of Personal Safety and Off-Campus Affairs, in conjunction with APD and appropriate city offices, will be responding to hotline calls.

The University and Committee will also conduct its annual "lighting and safety survey" to identify and recommend steps to make the area in the vicinity of Alumni Quadrangle, the College of St. Rose, Albany High School and the LaSalle School safer.

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